Bituminous coal production in the Appalachian basin: past, present, and future: Chapter D.3 in Coal and petroleum resources in the Appalachian basin: distribution, geologic framework, and geochemical character

Professional Paper 1708- D.3
By:  and 
Edited by: Leslie F. Ruppert and Robert T. Ryder

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Abstract

Although small quantities of coal first were produced from the Appalachian basin in the early 1700s, the first production statistics of significance were gathered during the census of 1830 (Eavenson, 1942). Since then, about 35 billion short tons of bituminous coal have been produced from the Appalachian basin from an original potential coal reserve (PCR(o)) estimated to range from about 60 to 90 billion short tons. The term “reserve” refers to economically producible coal, and a “potential coal reserve” (PCR(n)) is an estimate of the amount of coal economically recoverable in a region (State, coal field) over a defined time period (n = number of years) and under a range of economic, societal, and technological conditions. Thus, the current cumulative production plus the PCR(n) equals an estimated cumulative production (ECP(n)). The maps in this report (oversized figures 1, 2, 3, and 4) were produced from a digital database of historical and current coal production records by county. Sources of the original data include various State geological surveys, the U.S. Geological Survey, the former U.S. Bureau of Mines, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. This report is part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Coal Resource Assessment Project.

The Appalachian basin consistently has lead all other regions of the country in coal production and, until 1970, produced 70 percent or more of the coal produced in the Nation (fig. 5). Since 1970, however, the relative amount of coal coming from the Appalachian basin has declined from about 70 percent to 43 percent. Historically, coal production from the Appalachian basin may be divided into three economically driven cycles: (1) from the inception of exploration and development of the resource through World War I (1914) to the Depression (1929 to the early 1940s); (2) from the Depression through World War II (1944) to the production decline in 1961; and (3) from 1961 through the current period of increasing demand for coal by the electric power industry (fig. 6). Annual coal production from the Appalachian basin peaked in 1997 at 476.8 million tons and has since declined to 375.3 million tons as of 2003.

This report on Appalachian basin coal production consists of four plates and associated graphs and tables that were used to construct the maps. Figure 1 shows the decade of greatest coal production by county. Figure 2 shows the amount of coal produced for each county (in thousands of short tons) during the year of greatest coal production. These data are sorted by decade. Figure 3 illustrates the cumulative coal production (in thousands of short tons) for each county since about the beginning of the 20th century. Figure 4 shows 2003 production by county in thousands of short tons.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Bituminous coal production in the Appalachian basin: past, present, and future: Chapter D.3 in Coal and petroleum resources in the Appalachian basin: distribution, geologic framework, and geochemical character
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1708
Chapter D.3
DOI 10.3133/pp1708D.3
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description Report: iv, 13 p.; 4 Plates: 25.00 x 25.00 inches
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Coal and petroleum resources in the Appalachian basin: distribution, geologic framework, and geochemical character (Professional Paper 1708)
Country United States
Other Geospatial Appalachian basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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